Texas-Oklahoma St. Preview
Texas coach Rick Barnes is confident his 10th-ranked Longhorns are capable of bouncing back from an embarrassing performance.
However, that may not be so easy with a visit Saturday to an Oklahoma State team coming off a solid defensive showing against one of the nation’s top offenses.
Texas (12-3, 1-1 Big 12) looked completely overwhelmed in Monday’s 70-49 home loss to No. 16 Oklahoma. The Longhorns shot 30.0 percent and trailed 33-14 at halftime for a school-record low for points in a half of a Big 12 game.
"The thing that really bothers me, and why I use the word pride, is the more we dug that hole the less I thought we started fighting," Barnes said. "… I’m disappointed because I didn’t think we showed any type of toughness at all. We didn’t show any type of fight."
Despite the blunt assessment, Barnes believes his team will not let the humiliating loss linger.
"We’re going to be all right," he said. "We have to play harder and we have to compete. … That’s what I want to see, a group of guys that are hungry and have pride and play hard and compete."
One of the biggest keys to Texas rebounding is having Isaiah Taylor regain his shooting touch.
Taylor has been shaky in two games since missing the previous 10 with a broken left wrist. The sophomore guard has totaled 17 points on 6-of-23 shooting with eight turnovers in the last two after averaging 15.0 points on 53.3 percent shooting in the opening three contests.
Texas big man Jonathan Holmes also struggled Monday, finishing with four points on 2-of-9 shooting. He averaged 14.2 points in his previous five games.
Making matters more difficult for those two to find their offense is Oklahoma State (11-3, 1-1) has done a good job defensively in its first two league games.
After limiting Kansas State to 37.8 percent shooting in a 61-47 win last Saturday, the Cowboys held No. 17 Iowa State well below its Big 12-best 80.9 points per game in Tuesday’s 63-61 road defeat. Oklahoma State had a chance for the upset but had two 3-point attempts blocked in the final seconds.
”I hope our team takes away that we played against a very good team. A great team, one of the best offensive teams in the country, in one of the toughest places to play in the country, and we played them to the end,” Cowboys coach Travis Ford said.
Oklahoma State is paced by one of the nation’s top scoring tandems in Phi Forte, the Big 12’s leading scorer at 17.6 points per game, and Le’Bryan Nash, whose 17.5 scoring average ranks second. The 5-foot-11 Forte has scored at least 20 in each of the last three games, shooting 56.4 percent and hitting 9 of 18 3-point attempts. Nash, a 6-7 senior, leads the league in free throws made (85) and attempted (112).
Nash also leads the team in rebounding with 6.5 per game but controlling the glass seems like a tall order against Texas.
Led by Myles Turner (6.9 rebounds per game), Holmes (6.5) and Connor Lammert (6.4), the Longhorns are second in the nation in rebounding margin at plus-13.1. The Cowboys are last in the conference at plus-2.3.
Texas lost 87-74 at then-No. 11 Oklahoma State last January before the 19th-ranked Longhorns defeated the unranked Cowboys 87-68 a month later behind Javan Felix’s 27 points to snap a four-game skid in the series. Texas has lost three straight in Stillwater, Okla., but has won 15 of 18 matchups when Oklahoma State is unranked.